X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a technique for material identification. A low energy electron gun bombards a thin foil anode to produce a spectrum of x-rays that irradiate a material sample. The interaction of the x-rays through the photoelectric effect induce a cascade of atomic transitions in the sample material that re-emit characteristic x-ray lines. The pattern of emitted x-ray lines are compared with a database of known material spectra and the relative intensities of each set of patterns provides a material composition analysis of the sample. The most advanced XRF devices commercially available use Silicon Drift Detectors (SDD) or High-Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors that achieve resolutions on the order of 145 eV at the Mn K line.
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